Poetry and War

Topics: Poetry, Rhyme, Connotation Pages: 5 (1694 words) Published: August 3, 2010
How does Owen explore the themes of war through the power of his poetry? Written by: vdg
How does Owen explore the themes of war through the power of his poetry? Answer Q Owen expresses the themes of war through the unique power of poetry. Both the mental and physical brutality of war is emphasised in the poems, “The Send off,” “Anthem for doomed youth” and “Spring Offensive,” furthering the responder’s understanding of a soldier’s life on the western front. Owen employs various poetic devices such as imagery, symbolism and sound techniques, and powerful language features, together helping to convey the different aspects of war, such as the themes of ___ (maybe 4 main themes). 100 words on extract, linking to q

Wilfred Owen’s, “The send-off,” illustrates the consequences of war and reveals its cynical, secretive nature through the use of poetic devices. The title, “The Send-off,” depicts two different images about the nature of war. “Send-off” could be interpreted as a farewell to soldiers, in the hope of their return, or metaphorically could convey their literal fighting till death. The composer’s use of symbolism, “darkening lane,” portrays the sinister side of war, while the alliteration, “grimly gay,” creates irony. This depicts the soldiers’ hidden fear of going into battlefield, compared with their initial excitement at “send-off.” The composer also emphasises the fact that the “typical” send-off is an emotionless, mechanical procedure for many military personal, rather than a cheerful experience. Owen’s choice of diction is used to convey the horrors and themes of war. The metaphor, “Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray. As men’s are, dead,” reinforces the concept of doom and sacrifice during war, through the onomatopoeia of “stuck” and the negative connotations associated with the word “dead”. Diction is used, “Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp…staring hard, sorry to miss them…,” to demonstrate that most onlookers have a lack of emotion towards war. The rhetorical question, “Shall they return to beatings of great bells in wild train-loads?,” conveys the uncertainty of war, where a soldier’s fate is unknown to many. The composer’s use of repetition “A few, a few, too few for drums and yells”, conveys a sense of loneliness, as there are only a handful of soldiers who have returned home, depicting the horrors of the aftermath of war. The composer’s use of imagery, “May creep back, silent…up half-known roads”, portrays the returned soldiers’ disillusioned state of mind, effectively giving the responder an insight into the consequences of war. The composer’s successful use of personification in this poem, “Then, unmoved, signals nodded” and “a lamp winked to the guard”, illustrates the secretive and cynical nature of war, and presents the mental assumptions about a typical war. Personification is also used, “So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went,” to communicate the soldier’s unfair treatment at the hands of the government, while the phrase “they were not ours”, alludes to the soldier’s lack of belongingness. LINK TO Q Another poem, in which Owen uses the power of poetry to convey the themes of war, is “Anthem for doomed youth.” The title, “Anthem for doomed youth,” acts as an extended metaphor for the sacrificial and improvident consequences of war. Owen uses religious imagery, “candles” and “choirs”, alluding to the funeral ceremonies associated with such religious symbols, while also depicting the inhumane nature of killing during the war. “Doomed,” conveys a pessimistic tone and creates an image of entrapment. The opening rhetorical question, “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?”, illustrates the dehumanisation of war through the use of animal imagery. Moreover, the composer’s repetition, “only,” highlights the insufficient homage paid to death. Owen also employs alliteration and symbolism to convey the themes related with war. Alliteration,...
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